Co-op lineworker highlights importance of training during Career and Technical Education Month

Cameron Clark said two things drew him to pursue a career as a lineworker – making a meaningful difference in his community and helping power a brighter future.

After seven years with Lumbee River EMC, Clark said there’s no better place for him to carry out that mission than with North Carolina’s electric cooperatives.

“What drew me to the cooperatives was their commitment and integrity,” said Clark. “The co-ops allowed me to excel and grow in my career while serving the people of my community every day.”

While Clark has grown through his career with Lumbee River EMC, including his recent promotion to general foreman this year, he said he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the training he received almost 15 years ago.

Where it all began

Before operating their first bucket truck or repairing their first line, every lineworker must first complete the proper education.

For Clark, he received the skills and knowledge that he still leans on today from Nash Community College. A graduate of their 2009 class, Clark said it was in those classrooms and training sessions that he learned what it takes to be a lineworker.

Clark(Right) speaks with a fellow lineworker at the 2023 Pole Top Rescue Competition.

“There’s no shortage of things I learned during my time there,” said Clark. “Safe climbing, building power lines, every fundamental part of my job now, I learned from that program.”

February marks career and technical education month, and North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have made it a priority to invest in schools like the one that Clark attended.

Cooperatives support lineworker education

Since 1998, the cooperatives have partnered with Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, which operates the Lineman Training Academy. The program was created by the co-ops to provide training for lineworkers as they enter the field, as well as an important opportunity for academic advancement, as students can combine their job training with academic curriculum to graduate with an associate degree in two years.

Beyond the formal partnership with Nash Community College, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have worked with community colleges across the state on lineworker training programs and other workforce development initiatives for years.

While Clark said he has seen the profession continue to change and evolve, he believes the value of lineworker schools is more essential than ever right now.

Clark poses with top finishers at the 2023 Pole Top Rescue Competition.

“The fundamentals are so important for this next generation of lineworkers coming into the field,” said Clark. “These programs give you real, hands-on training that you can’t replicate anywhere else. When it comes to safety and doing the job the right way, these schools are empowering the lineworkers that will be serving our communities for decades to come.”

Looking back on how his career has unfolded since graduating from Nash Community College in 2009, Clark said he wouldn’t change much. He believes lineworkers play a valuable role in their community through their commitment and service.

“This is a rewarding career that helps people in the community,” said Clark. “Every day that I go to work, I know that I am making a difference in the lives of the people that I come into contact with.”